RTTNews - One day after ending the three-day winning streak in which it gathered more than 100 points or 7.5 percent on its way to a six-month closing high, the South Korean stock market headed right back to the upside on Wednesday. The KOSPI cracked resistance at 1,410 points, although analysts predict that the market could fall all the way to below 1,400 points at the opening of trade on Thursday.
The global forecast for the Asian markets is laced with pessimism as sentiment plummeted on weaker than expected economic data out of the United States, as well as mixed corporate news. The European markets finished sharply lower, as did the U.S. markets - and the Asian markets are forecast to also move significantly lower.
The KOSPI finished modestly higher on Wednesday, thanks to bargain hunting after steep losses in the previous session. Almost every sector finished mixed, although the industrials provided the most support.
For the day, the index added 11.01 points or 0.78 percent to close at 1,414.52 after trading between 1,400.35 and 1,414.63. Volume was 705.97 million shares worth 6.93 trillion won, with gainers outnumbering decliners 538 to 300.
Among the gainers, LG Display LCD was up 0.96 percent, while KB Financial was up 1.94 percent, KEPCO closed up 0.83 percent, KT rose 1.46 percent and GS Engineering and Construction rose 5.2 percent.
Finishing lower, Samsung Electronics fell 0.18 percent, while Hynix Semiconductor lost 4.12 percent, Daewoo Shipbuilding was down 1.63 percent, Hyundai Heavy Industries slipped 0.2 percent, Samsung Heavy Industries fell 2.42 percent, LG Electronics fell 3.86 percent, Woori Finance declined 1.36 percent, Korea Exchange Bank closed down 0.35 percent, Kia Motors slipped 0.41 percent, Hyundai Motor was down 0.46 percent, Ssangyong Motor slumped 5 percent, S-Oil moved down 1.28 percent, SK ended down 0.55 percent, Korean Air Line fell 1.09 percent and Asiana Air Line shed 1.59 percent.
The lead from Wall Street is broadly negative as stocks saw substantial weakness during trading on Wednesday, as disappointing retail sales offset some of the recent optimism about the outlook for the economy. The major averages all moved sharply lower after ending the previous session mixed.
The weakness in the markets came after a report from the Commerce Department showed that retail sales unexpectedly fell for the second consecutive month in April after showing back-to-back increases in the first two months of the year. The report showed that retail sales fell 0.4 percent in April following a revised 1.3 percent decrease in March. Economists had expected sales to come in unchanged compared to the 1.2 percent decrease originally reported for the previous month.
A separate report from the Commerce Department showed a continued decrease in business inventories in the month of March. The report showed that business inventories fell 1.0 percent in March following a revised 1.4 percent decrease in February.
Meanwhile, shares of Intel (INTC) ended the day modestly lower after the European Commission fined the semiconductor giant a record 1.06 billion euros for allegedly abusing its dominant position on the market for computer chips known as x86 central processing units. Intel president and CEO, Paul Otellini said the company takes strong exception to the decision, arguing that it ignores the reality of a highly competitive microprocessor marketplace. Otellini added that Intel would appeal the decision.
On the earnings front, department store operator Macy's (M) reported a first quarter adjusted loss that came in narrower than analysts had been expecting. Nonetheless, shares of Macy's fell 6.7 percent, as the weak sales data weight on the retail sector.
In other news, American International Group CEO Edward Liddy appeared before lawmakers, attempting to defend the steps the beleaguered insurer has taken to reduce the risks it poses to the financial system.
The major averages all closed firmly negative, with the NASDAQ ending the session at its worst level of the day. The Dow fell 184.22 points or 2.2 percent to 8,284.89, the NASDAQ closed down 51.73 points or 3 percent at 1,664.19 and the S&P 500 fell 24.43 points or 2.7 percent to 883.92.
On the economic front, South Korea's jobless rate edged down to 3.8 percent in April from 4 percent in March, the National Statistical Office said Wednesday. The number of unemployed persons decreased to 933,000 in April from 952,000 in the preceding month. At the same time, the number of employed persons increased to 23.5 million from 23.1 million in March.
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